highTunes: Perfect Pairings For Drake, SBTRKT, and Young Thug

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After initially announcing it way back in 2014, we finally have our collective hands on Drake’s Views From The 6. Even to the casual listener, it’s abundantly clear that Drake has evolved. He’s progressed to a point where the lines between genres blur and he can infuse surprising lyricism with a melody that very few others can bring to the table. Finding the perfect strain to pair with Views wasn’t easy, keeping in mind it needed to match the album’s deep reflectiveness. It also needed to be one of the strongest strains in the game, as Drake has vaulted himself into the “conversation.” Incorporating all of those characteristics, plus keeping Drizzy’s religious heritage in mind, led me to Kosher Kush. The hall of fame indica will lay you down and ease all your pains, allowing you to remove yourself from the mundane and really feel the music as an all-encompassing experience.

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The 20-song epic opens in amazingly appropriate fashion with “Keep the Family Close,” a symphony orchestra-backed intro that feels grandiose, to say the least. The song is more reminiscent of a James Bond movie’s theme song than an album cut from the same guy who gave us YOLO. A tale of trust and deceit, it’s a fascinating look behind the curtain of a figure we usually see grinning ear-to-ear. The opener sets the tone for the rest of Views, quickly establishing that this is truly what we’ve been waiting for. Fire up that Kosher Kush and break out your best air drumming routine, because there’s some serious Phil Collins vibes when the 2:00 mark comes around.

“I made a decision last night that I would die for it,” a line from “9” that resonates, lets the listener know the kind of commitment it takes to truly master your craft. While Aubrey’s catalog is always chock-full of smashes, this past year showed just how prolific a hitmaker he could truly be with two mixtapes albums that dominated the industry and set trends not only musically, but marketing-wise as well. His unique ability to drum up worldwide interest with even the most minuscule act is a testament to how he’s built his brand, something Kosher Kush knows all about. The original “KK” (sorry Wiz) has built one of the strongest resumes in the business, nabbing back-to-back gold medals for “Best Indica” at the 2010 and 2011 Cannabis Cups. If you were in a coma for most of the last year and missed out on your heaping helping of beef, our protagonist Drake knows a little something about going back-to-back as well. You can stream the album on Apple Music, Spotify, or Tidal.


For all my wake-and-bakers, here’s a glorious pairing to kick your day off. It’s a pretty quick listen, perfect for your morning stretch, a leisurely stroll with your dog, or sitting in traffic on your commute should you also happen to live in Southern California. We’ll be intertwining the sweet, pungent, SoCal delicacy XJ-13 with SBTRKT’s new project SAVE YOURSELF, an 8-song collection of pure vibes. A cross between the legendary Jack Herer and a mad scientist’s creation of G-13, XJ-13 is a potent Sativa that’ll lift you up and keep you soaring. Personally, I picked up some XJ from Quality Concentrates, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It carried all the traditional fruity and earthy undertones that XJ-13 in flower form would and tasted amazing. If I had to describe the experience it was like taking an early morning trek through the woods, everything still wet from the morning dew and eating some berries right off the tree. There are hints of wood and fruit, like a good bowl of Kashi (if Kashi got you incredibly high). I wanted to pick some music that would be perfect for a hike, something with primal drums, raw energy, and soft vocals that won’t take away from the feeling you’ll experience but rather compliment it.

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As he did on Kanye’s new album, The-Dream stands out on SAVE YOURSELF, lending his unique voice to three of the project’s tracks, most notably “GOOD MORNING.” His high pitch balances with the full-bodied percussion throughout to create a sound that feels like the XJ smokes, a truly immersive experience when combined. D.R.A.M. shines as usual on “I FEEL YOUR PAIN” as he continues to show why he’s one of the brightest rising stars in music today. Mabel and Sampha also make beautiful contributions, everything feeling perfectly arranged and in place, nothing forced. For a high as clean and invigorating as the XJ-13, it only seemed right to match it with something produced so precisely. As if he knew we’d be looking to make his project affect more than just one of your senses, SBTRKT released SAVE YOURSELF with accompanying visual art that you can watch as you listen.


For something to be truly unique, it must be inherently rare. Both sides of this pairing equation fit that standard, as Apollo 13 and Young Thug share one vital trait– you’ll find nothing else like them. You most likely won’t find Apollo 13 in its purest form, as there were only 500 seeds distributed of the elusive strain, but there are still very similar phenos hanging around like Vortex. A cross between Princess75 and Genius, the F1 Apollo 13 belongs to the Jack Herer family and was crafted in the European weed Mecca of Amsterdam by The Brothers Grimm. The strain is well known amongst creatives, namely musicians and artists, because of her ability to provide clarity and get the imagination flowing. While clarity may not be Thug’s strongest characteristic, imagination is never in short supply, as you’ll hear on SS3.

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Ever since his breakout hit “Stoner” was released a few years ago, Thugger’s been one of my go-to smoke session artists, mainly because his energy is infectious. While you may not pick up on what he’s actually saying, you’ll find yourself confidently proclaiming the lyrics (or at least your interpretation of them). Like fellow Atlanta artist Future, he has the supreme gift of being able to create music that transcends listening and forces you to feel it. The Apollo 13 only amplifies this characteristic, take the opening track for example; The beat to “With Them” sounds like aliens tapping on the Apollo’s windows telling us to come out and play. Known for its chameleon-esque flavor profile that can range from sweet and citrusy to a sharp, earthy bite, this is where the two become one and create a full experience. Thugger matches our hybrid Apollo 13’s versatility, switching effortlessly between melodic crooning and an intense, uzi-like flow that triggers a ferocious eyes-closed head bang from its listener (“Digits” and “Drippin” are perfect examples). If while on your mission you wonder where the Apollo got her name from, it’s most likely derived from the lunar glow of her buds, full of bright green and orange coloration.

highTunes is a weekly feature where music is paired with specific strains of weed to create a uniquely enhanced experience. If you’ve created some of your own great pairings at home, please share them with us in the comment section and you may just see it in a future edition of highTunes.

About Author

Did the radio thing for a while before writing about music for Genius, Complex, XXL, Elevator, HotNewHipHop, and more. Follow @LongLiveTheDuke on Twitter if you're feeling like you don't want our connection to end right this very moment.

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